Reporters on the Job

KURDISH HITCHHIKERS: When Scott Peterson entered the camp for displaced Kurds in northern Iraq, he started taking photos of some of the residents. He fell in love with one girl who approached him. "There's never much to do in these camps, so the arrival of a foreigner is always an occasion, especially for children. One little girl started giggling while I took her picture and couldn't stop," says Scott.

As he left the camp, he heard firsthand how ready they are to return to their home city of Kirkuk (this page). The camp of about 75 families is just off the main road to Kirkuk - the road that American forces moving into northern Iraq from Turkey would likely take in the event of war. "I will pick you up, when we come along the road riding an American tank," Scott told the camp director half in jest, as he got ready to leave. The Kurdish director grabbed his hand for a fuller explanation. "Really?" he asked, wide-eyed. "Inshallah [God willing]," Scott replied. The Kurd, his delight immense, nearly shook Scott's hand right off.

THE ROCKETS' RED GLARE: While reporting today's story about who's attacking US troops in Afghanistan and why (page 1), the Monitor's Scott Baldauf was staying at one of the top floors at a hotel in Khost. One evening, Scott had just called his wife and heard the sound of explosions. He looked out the window to see the flashes of a rocket attack on a US air base nearby. The attack continued for 15 to 20 minutes.

"At the Bagram Air Base, US officials regularly brief reporters on such attacks, but they don't make a very big deal of it. It sounds as if one or two shots are fired without much effect. But this went on for a long time. I was not prepared me for the ferocity of the attack."

The next day, US officials reported that no one had been injured in the attack.

NUKES? SO WHAT: Warmer weather brought Seoul residents out in force to Marronnier Park, a popular spot, where yesterday the Monitor's Robert Marquand approached one 30-something couple whacking away at abadminton birdie and asked them about the situation with North Korea (page 1). Bob wasn't entirely prepared for their response. "She was a financial analyst and her husband works at a bank. They asked me why North Korea shouldn't be able to have nuclear bombs. The US does, after all."

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